Jesus, since when did such young guys get to play with such superstars??? Probably since they've proven themselves treading well above and beyond the herd, and Jake Hertzog drives that home on Throwback, his latest, this time on Zoho (schweet!). The guy's created quite a ruckus among fellow guitar and jazz players and then with critics. That being the case, you know this CD isn't going to be just a matter of flashpots and blunderbusses going off but far more centered in dexterity and technique. Previously more based in a jazz-rock milieu, Hertzog now heads for serious fusionland and all that means. Noted for his intervallic acumen, there is, however, a hell of a lot more than that here.
Cleared to Fly gives the first most incandescent notion of that, with its wildly chosen but perfectly coherent abstract chords, as Randy Brecker sails above in Tomasz Stanko fashion (in fact, this CD represents the most Stanko-esque set of chops I've ever heard from him, maintaining an unusual, Renaissance, contrastive pastorality throughout). More than once, though, you'll find yourself asking "How the hell did Hertzog get here from there?!?!", yet it all works perfectly. Bassist Harvie S shines in the background, as imagistic and palpable as I've ever heard him…and that's saying a lot, as drummer Vic Jones paves a way-solid firmament beneath everyone, dexterous and creative.
One of the comparatives not being thrown Hertzog's way is Larry Coryell, yet I hear generous percentages of Coryell's thinkery everywhere—not his chops particularly, though there are some of those as well, but Coryell's perennial out of the box mentations, and even some of Harvey Mandel's unusual techniques. Catch Entropy, where Hertzog almost dives into the kind of 'backwards' playing Harvey executed so well solo and with Mayall and the Pure Food & Drug Act, then coughs up insistent, staccato, chordal ostinato a la Fripp in his experimental prime. Hands On is also extremely interesting, as it takes be-bop somewhere else, the kind of backlands Martino might have chosen had he listened to progrock, RIO, and, say, Ian Carr's Nucleus. Finally, though, there's a marriage between immediacy and thoughtfulness, and this was wrought from the old-school way the CD was recorded. As Hertzog puts it, "You get four dudes in a room, you put up a couple of mikes, you got one day, you hit the record button, and that's the record". One hell of a lot of magic has classically come from that kinda seat-of-the-pants approach. It still does.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2013, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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